Branches of Indian Astrology

Branches of Indian Astrology

Even though astrology is a science based on various planetary principles, there are different branches of it which are different in many ways. Among the various branches of Astrology two important ones are – the Indian Vedic Astrology and Western Astrology. Some of the main differences between them are as follows:

Historical background: the first main difference is their origin and historical background.  

Indian astrology can be traced back to the age of the Vedas, infact precisely the Rig Veda which is the oldest of all the Vedas. It is believed that this astrology came through the insights of seers in India called Rishis who were highly knowledgeable and intelligent people. Because of its strong historical background connected to Vedas and Hinduism, the principles of Vedic Astrology have not changed much in the past thousands of years.

Western Astrology’s roots go back to the intellectual life of the ancient Greece and Rome. It was then considered to be a powerful force. However with the advent of Christianity it almost went to extinction. It was again reawakened in the Middle Ages and started permeating philosophy, literature and art. With the advent of time it went through many changes and got influenced by many new discoveries like the discovery of new planets.

Methods used to calculate the position of planets: the second point of difference is that both of them use different methods to calculate the position of planets. The Vedic system used the system called ‘sidereal zodiac’ which basically applies the same position of the planets as used by astronomers against the background of certain fixed stars whereas the Western astrology uses the ‘Tropical Zodiac’ which is based on the orientation of the earth to the sun. One of the important impact of this difference is that five out of every six people were not born under the constellation that they believe they were born under.

Number of planets used: the third point of difference is that both systems use different numbers of planet.

Vedic astrology makes use of nine planets, namely, Sun, moon, mars, mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and the two nodes of the moon called Rahu and Ketu. These nodes are the points on the ecliptic path of the Sun which the moon cuts every month as it goes round the earth.

The Western Astrologers also use the same planets mentioned above but in addition to them they also make use of the movement of outer planets like Uranus, Neptune and Pluto along with their moons as well as some large asteroids. Vedic system did not use this as they were considered to be too far.

Primary focus: the fourth point of difference is that both systems use different primary focus

Vedic astrology’s main focus is largely based on Sun, especially for horoscope signs like Aries, Taurus, Gemini and others. That is the reason why they are called ‘solar houses’. In western astrology the main focus is on psychology, personality and character which are considered to be the solar side of our life. Besides these main differences there are also other forms of differences like different use of the fixed stars, different systems to determine the timing of events and mathematics.

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